How Jack O Lantern Began

Then and Now……a family tradition continues


In 1924, Charles and Alice Batchelder established a campground they called Camp City. Next door was the Billy Walker Mineral Spring, a roadside stand run by a local character who sold native rocks, mineral water(of questionable value), and a neighboring farmer’s prize pumpkins.
In the early thirties, the Barchelder’s carved out a short 9-hole golf course between the campground and the Pemigewasset River.

Across the street, in one of the first homes established in the Town of Peeling(now  Woodstock), a small restaurant was started. Known originally as the Tavern, it had been used much earlier to house American soldiers on their way to Canada during the War of 1812. Soon the Tavern was nicknamed the Jack O’Lantern- a nod to the original pumpkin patch in the area. After that, the nickname became the name with a carved smiling  pumpkin as its trade mark/logo, designed by artist Claude L.  Brusseau. A New England tradition was established. The carved smiling pumpkin became its logo.

In 1947, Jim and Shirley Keating along with their son Bob moved from Melrose and  Wakefield, Massachusetts to take over from the retiring founders operating it as the Tavern and 9-hole golf course. Bob and his wife, Judy, began operating the Resort in 1961, raising their three children, and continuing to build the reputation of one of the best vacation values in New England.


Over the past 15 years, Jack O’Lantern Resort has completed the transition from a roadside motel and cabin to a modern 50-unit condominium featuring the finest comfortable country accommodations in the region. The aging Tavern has been
replaced by an expanded Golf Clubhouse Grille and Bar that continues to maintain the Resort’s reputation for great food served in a relaxed and informal setting.

Jack O’Lantern’s location in the heart of the White Mountains affords the entire family easy access to a variety of year round attractions. With its own hand-crafted authentic covered bridge spanning the water behind the 17th green, the beautifully maintained 18-hole 6010 yard golf course winds along the “Pemi” River in a panoramic natural setting. Jack’s bridge is a replica of the original covered bridge that was over the Pemigewasset River in Woodstock, which burned down in the 1970’s. It was hand built by Milton Graton, “The Last of the Covered Bridge Builders” in 1986 as a replica. The Resort offers tennis courts, shuffleboard courts, Jacuzzi, and both indoor and outdoor pools.

The Jack O’Lantern Resort operates a successful rental program for many of the unit owners. Taking advantage of the Resort’s reputation and marketing strength, they receive rental income from their units when they are not in residence.

After 59 years of operating the Resort, the Keating family passed the torch to Michael and Maria Ford in July 2006 as the new owners.
The Resort became their summer vacation spot with their two girls, Elizabeth and Catherine, and Hall of Fame Golfer, Douglas Michael Ford. The Ford family has been in the golf business for years with Michael’s dad and uncles all golf professionals from the New York area.
Michael had previously owned a golf course in Westport, NH prior to purchasing The Jack. Their winter residence is in the South Florida area. The year 2011 brought these changes: a Sunrise Deck and higher level Sunrise Terrace was added to the second floor of the Clubhouse overlooking the first tee, mountains, and bridge. The tradition of fine relaxed golf and dining experiences on this beautiful country landscape area of New England continues with families and golf groups year after year.